Raw Food | Eat well | Raw for life | In the Raw
When Venice natural food market, Rawesome Foods, was raided last week for selling “raw” or unpasteurized milk,
it was not the first time. In fact, it hardly was of government cracking down on the sale of raw milk.
Police arrested James Stewart, the owner of Rawesome Foods, and two raw milk suppliers, Sharon Ann Palmer and Eugenie Bloch of Healthy Family Farms. A year long investigation lead to the arrests.
While the raid itself appears to have been pretty by-the-book, rather than a SWAT-style raid as reported by natural news, the absurdity of the raid itself is not so much in its tactics but in the fact that it’s happening in the first place.
Drinking raw milk carries a certain amount of risk, as do many other acts that adults are allowed to engage in, from drinking alcohol, to driving in a steel cage every morning at unbelievable speeds along with thousands of other people on busy city streets. The risks associated with raw milk are controversial, but have of course drawn the ire of regulators who have either banned the sales outright, or required a permit.
California apparently does allow the sale of raw milk but requires a permit to do so. I’m not sure why James Stewart did not have a permit. It’s possible the milk in question didn’t qualify, or that he simply didn’t believe the regulations applied to his store since it is essentially a private “drop-off-point” rather than an actual grocery store. Private individuals pick up privately distributed food from local farmers. If that’s the case, apparently regulators disagreed.
Obviously spending this much time and this many resources to bust people selling dairy products is silly. Making arrests, rather than simply issuing a fine for non-compliance, is silly. And yes, the fundamental issue here is the silliness of requiring permits – or making outright bans – to sell raw milk in the first place. Permits typically don’t make us any safer, and can serve crowd out competition. In this case, big dairy farms are crowding out smaller competitors.
I still wonder, though, if permits were available, why didn’t Stewart just bite the bullet? It seems easier to go along with bad regulations and fight them in the court of public opinion or at the ballot box rather than simply disregard them and face another raid. Hopefully we find out more as more light is shed on all of this.